Steve Gustavson, Chief Creative Director from Adobe shares insights from how Adobe transformed their 20,000 in-person marketing summit in Las Vegas to a 100% virtual event and how brands can prepare for virtual events while maintaining a great customer experience in the “new normal.”

Steve was joined by Clay Warren, Head of Digital CX at Qualtrics.

Hear the full interview:


What process did you go through when you had to cancel Adobe Summit in Las Vegas?

We realized people needed this moment. We felt very strongly about that — the world is changing around us rapidly, but our customers still wanted to connect.

So we thought, well, we've got to do something. We didn't want to postpone it... we realized we've got to go purely digital, self-recording, videos at home.

One of our values is being genuine and authentic, and so we didn’t want to put people over goofy green screens… it was very raw and very genuine.

How did you ensure digital best practice when everyone was presenting remotely?

“We sent people the camera equipment, audio equipment etc. but they had to set it up themselves — we couldn’t go into homes or offices to film. And so some of that was very scrappy, but it came across as very genuine.”

What kind of data and feedback were you able to get from the event this year?

“Because it was a fully digital experience, we had all the Adobe Analytics data on what people actually were doing and that revealed some very particular trends.

So as we’re looking at future events we’re able to look at that data and ask ourselves questions like how did those breakout sessions perform?”

How do you see physical events evolving for companies in the next 9 months?

“We will recover from this and want to physically be together again at some point in the future but for the time being, digital events are going to be table stakes.

We need to think about what we want that experience to look like - we are definitely looking at how we use personalization and AI and using some of the session data to refine the experience.

As restrictions are lifted, I think we’ll start to experiment a bit… you don’t want to saturate the market with every person holding their own events. We need to be thoughtful about how we do it… we're trying to think through what's the right cadence to be building an experience to engage our customers and our partners.”

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